Degree Program Options
Two separate degree programs are offered by the department. Course performance requirements are the same for M.S.E and Ph.D. candidates. Only the emphasis of the overall plan of study (courses and thesis research) is different. With the permission of the Departmental Graduate Committee and the approval of the Graduate School, students in good standing may transfer between these programs to satisfy newly realized goals. It is not necessary to obtain an M.S.E. before following a Ph.D. program.
The Ph.D. program
As a candidate for the doctoral program, the student, in consultation with a faculty adviser and his or her Ph.D. committee, develops an integrated program of study in preparation for a comprehensive general examination. Subsequent to passing the examination, the student prepares a dissertation showing technical mastery of the field and the contributions to the advancement of knowledge, followed by a public presentation of the material to the technical community. Candidates in this program are required to take a minimum of 10 courses throughout their enrollment, with eight of the courses being taken in the first three semesters. Candidates are also required to be an assistant in teaching for a minimum of three semesters after passing the general examination. The Ph.D. program typically lasts five years and includes full financial support.
The M.S.E. Program
Candidates for the M.S.E. program complete seven courses and write an acceptable thesis. The thesis is central to the program and is considered an integral aspect of graduate education in the field. It is the culmination of prior training and research and is expected to address a realistic and important problem. The thesis must be presented in good literary form and be written in good English. The technical quality is also expected to be high and differs from that expected for the Ph.D. only in the quantity of material presented. The M.S.E. program typically covers two years. The number of master’s students admitted each year is limited.